Wednesday, 27 Oct 2021

Escort, 34, who defrauded millionaire 'sugar daddy', 68, out of £2.5m jailed for more than 5 years

AN ESCORT who defrauded a wealthy "sugar daddy" out of £2.5million after her victim "fell hopelessly in love with her" has been jailed for more than five years.

Louise Caplan, 34, was booked by retired Deloitte executive Henry Sless, 68, through an escort agency and they started dating despite their age difference.

Caplan asked the besotted millionaire to be her sugar daddy in exchange for £150,000-a-year, but wily Mr Sless managed to negotiate the fee down to £10,000 a month, the court heard.

Prosecutors told the judge that Caplan, from Buckinghamshire, bought herself a £1million house with Mr Sless' money which she obtained by lying that she was investing in businesses in Dubai and Dublin. She also bought artwork worth £300,000.

Mr Sless, who was aged 65 years at the time, showered Caplan with gifts worth more than £1million and then parted with another £2.5million -which he wrongly believed the wannabee businesswoman was investing.

Jon Swaine, defence counsel for Caplan, told the court: "It was a sad situation of two people who had fantasies. Each had their own fantasy.

"Hers was that she wanted to be a successful businesswoman and his came at a time when he was unhappy in his personal life.

"He made decisions that were disastrous and astonishing for a man with his expertise and background. The decisions he made were not made using his head, that is for sure."

Judge Francis Sheridan, sitting at Aylesbury Crown Court, heard how the couple met via the online escort website Adult Works in November 2017 after Mr Sless agreed to pay her £400 for sex.

Prosecutor Stefan Weidmann said: "Mr Sless said in a statement 'it felt like we clicked immediately and within a few days of our first meeting Ms Caplan sent a message saying she would have married me if I would have been 10 years younger and she was 10 years older.

"We met five or so times in the first year and we were in contact on a daily basis. I instantly fell for her.'"

As the relationship developed, the court heard how Caplan began to demand money from Mr Sless, often in erotically charged messages that were drenched in affection.

In a statement, Mr Sless said: "Sometime in late November or early December 2017, Ms Caplan came to me and asked me if I would be her 'sugar daddy'.

He made decisions that were disastrous and astonishing for a man with his expertise and background. The decisions he made were not made using his head, that is for sure

"She asked me to give her £150,000 a year, I negotiated it down to £10,000 per month."

Judge Francis Sheridan heard the couple had met on at least six occasions for sex, although the judge suggested it could have been many more times.

However, the court heard that the escort defrauded him out of at least £2.5million.

A tearful Caplan, who looked heartbroken as she sat weeping the dock, heard how she had spent more than £1million on a luxury house in Farnham Common, Bucks., as well as nearly £313,000 on artwork and £619,000 on luxury retail goods, despite having previously had an annual income of only £7,000.

The astonished judge was told that despite the enormous scale of the loans Mr Sless was handing out, the veteran accountant did not demand any paperwork.

Prosecutor Stefan Weidmann said: "When asked why he would give such enormous loans on an informal basis Mr Sless said he the pair to be in a long term relationship and he believed that they had a future together and they would be married and together raise Ms Caplan's daughter."

However, Judge Sheridan questioned: "Of course he would have had paperwork, he was an accountant? What am I missing?"


Mr Weidmann admitted that Mr Sless was a man of "staggering naivety", despite his vast experience.

Defending her, Mr Swaine revealed that she had attempted to use the money genuinely to pursue her dream of becoming a successful interior designer, and it was only when the bills began to catch up with her that she turned to fraud.

He said: "She intended to use this money in a business but she was hopelessly out of her depth. She hired expensive accountants who advised her that she had no hope of success.

"Her huge error was not to go to Mr Sless and say I have been stupid and I have let you down. She had no hope of paying this all back."

Caplan had earlier admitted one count of fraud.

Sentencing her to five and a quarter years in prison, Judge Sheridan said: "I am in no position to tell the truth of how many times he took advantage of your sexual services.

"It was at least six times but I am strongly suspicious about that given the extremely large figures in this fraud. This had all the hallmarks of a business arrangement and if it was business, it was certainly not done properly."

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